Strong auto sales, better hiring and a continued housing recovery helped the U.S. economy grow in January and February throughout the country, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve.
The survey noted that 10 of the Fed's 12 banking districts reported moderate or modest growth, while the Boston and Chicago districts reported slow growth.
The payroll processing firm ADP said Wednesday its data showed that private employers added a solid 198,000 jobs in February, compared with a little more than 200,000 in the prior two months. The government's official jobs report for February is due out on Friday.
— Tribune Washington Bureau
Consumer spending increased in most regions, although spending growth slowed in many districts and much of the gains were driven by auto sales. Many districts said consumers pulled back slightly elsewhere after seeing taxes rise and gas prices increase. Some also expressed concerns about federal spending cuts that started on March 1.
Housing markets showed more strength in nearly all parts of the country. Manufacturing grew modestly in most regions after struggling through most of 2012. And many districts reported improvement in individual job markets.
The report, called the Beige Book, provides anecdotal information on economic conditions through Feb. 22.